London Restaurants for Single Women
I'll be visiting London for three nights in April (Fri, Sat, Sun). I'm looking for dinner suggestions as well as pubs/wine bars/cocktail spots where I'll feel comfortable as a single woman. I've travelled alone a lot and am generally comfortable eating and drinking alone--I'm just looking for pubs/bars where I won't feel like a lone gazelle at the watering hole and restaurants where they don't sneer at parties of one.
I"m staying in Bloomsbury. Ideally I'm looking for one blow-out dinner, and a couple smaller, more casual places.
Barrafina, over in Soho -- great tapas with seating at one long bar (actually 2 sides of a square) only. Fresh grilled seafood a specialty.
Good to know. I have dined all over the world, solo at times. I have no problem with walking into the fanciest of the restaurants in NYC, and other big Westernized cities- with no magazine in hand! I realized quickly in Asian countries it was a big cultural no no. Glad to hear London will be comfortable for solo female diners.
I'd say places where you can sit at the bar can be good, you can take a book or magazine, or chat to the staff, so Spuntino, Barrafina, Jose, Arbutus or Wild Honey would all be good. Perhaps avoid some of the hotel bars as a few of them get frequented by er...men and their 'nieces' but I'd be comfortable on my own in most pubs.
The evocatively named 'Indian Veg Bhelpoori House' on 92-93 Chapel Market, serving very simple and fresh veggie dishes, a choice of white or brown rice, some crunchie fried stuff and salads, all in a buffet stylee under £5. I've been going there for years, it's always populated with a variety of customers, some alone, and i've never had that awkward 'eating by myself' feeling in there. Plus, tasty!
There are some places worth checking on london-eating's Solo Dining and Eating At The Bar lists:
You might like to eat at the bar at Salt Yard, not far from Bloomsbury - great wine, charcuterie and modern Spanish / Modern European tapas-sized dishes. Nearby, you can eat well at Yoisho, a little Japanese izakaya.
London is very accomodating to solo travellers - places like Bob Bob Ricard even have tables designed for one person.
You might also consider a wander around Borough Market where you can eat lovely local street food on the go, or dine at Elliots (a lovely bistro/cafe where they cook seasonal dishes using ingredients from the market) or have some tapas at Jose on Bermondsey St. (Room for solo diners at the window seats and bar).
Please report back on where you end up!
When I lived there in the bad old days women alone were relegated to next to the loo. No longer! My pals, Jeremy and Chris, willwelcome you with charm at the Wollesley; Fernando, at the Ivy, should give you a table in the bar, for max people- watching; ask the divine John at J Sheekey for a table in the third dining room from the entrance. my top recent discovery was the Harewood Arms gastropub, chefs on their day off. Love St Johns, Gauthier, Bibendum Oyster Bar. Phoenix Garden in Chinatown, but why bother if you have good options where you live? Cheerio, Chic Fille
I'm not a bar/pub person, but I have dined alone in London extensively and have never had a problem, especially in the theatre district or in The City. Sometimes men send a drink, but they're always polite. Paris, on the other hand...
Thanks for all of the wonderful tips, everyone! Looks like my trip is shaping up nicely.
Currently the plan is:
--Friday (arrival day): Lunch in the food hall at Harrod's en route to Victoria and Albert Museum; a wander around Kensington, and dinner at St. John Hotel.
--Saturday: Breakfast a Borough Market (hopefully a grilled cheese!). I"m keeping lunch flexible because I'm also planning an early dinner, but I'm sure I will pick up snacks somewhere along my Tate Modern/Millenium Bridge/Walk along the Thames plan. Having an early pre-theatre dinner at Arbutus.
--Sunday I plan to spend the morning at the British Museum and afternoon browsing on Oxford and Bond Streets, with lunch in SoHo in between. Thinking Spuntino, Barrafina, or Polpo are possibilities. Then...dinner at The Ledbury that night!
I think I've put together a good itinerary--hopefully after this and a further 6 days of eating and cooking classes in Ireland, I'll fit on the plane home!
I'll report back with reviews after my trip.